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Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 6, 2009 12:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Aoxomoxoa vs. Live/Dead

I'd like to date Betty too....

Anyway - I think the most obvious reason that Aox is all-Jerry is because no one else wrote anything. It's true that with Hunter's arrival he could churn out the tunes and crowd everyone else out, but I don't think the others tried either. Pigpen, once Constanten arrived and kicked him off the keyboard in Nov '68, probably felt no need to participate in the studio again (until the band encouraged him a bit more in 1970). Weir was not much of a songwriter at that point, and after being snubbed by the others in Oct '68, probably felt "whatever, man". As for Lesh, it's hard to say - he does get a credit on St Stephen, though - but the band-composed jam-songs like Dark Star and the Eleven went onto Live/Dead instead. (And Clementine, sadly, bit the dust.)
Aox is not that rich in songs anyway - China Cat was an old song at that point, so that leaves only seven newly written songs - and only five of those were regularly done live.

The Dead only started recording their shows again in December '68, and I'd guess more shows from that month were taped and went missing or were taped-over, but we still have a bunch. (Their first 16-track recording was 12-31-68, I believe.)
When they were doing the Anthem shows in early '68, I think they already had an idea of exactly what would go on the album - the same may be true for Live/Dead. I don't think it's a case of "these suites are mature & ready now" - the Dead always saw their music as a continuum, rather than isolated points of time - but they wanted to emphasize the longer jam pieces. Their setlist was pretty small anyway. You'll notice they carefully omitted Aox songs like Mountains from Live/Dead - just as, after '68, they decided not to bother with Dark Star or the Eleven in the studio anymore.
Stephen's the big exception - I don't know why the studio version is so different from the live version, except just for the sake of experimentation. Jerry saw the Aox sessions as a chance to run wild in the studio and play with all kinds of overdubs & recording techniques (as well as a chance to dip his toes into the world of "real songs").

As far as mixing goes, Jerry was much happier with Anthem than he was with Aox. I don't think the Dead were "disappointed" with Anthem at all, they just wanted to move on and do things differently. The band, I think, always remained proud of their work on Anthem, but Jerry was so bugged by Aox he remixed it only a couple years later & deleted the original version!

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: Mar 6, 2009 6:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Aoxomoxoa vs. Live/Dead (for the big gold)

I meant disappointed in the reception "Anthem" got, who wouldn't be proud of the actual product? So I think there was an attempt to 'clean it up' on Aox (the 'world of songs' you mentioned). I can see why Jer wanted to remix it later; they really cluttered up the Aox tracks with extra instruments (in the case of the studio "Dark Star" to the point of ridiculousness...banjo? They just loved tinkering in the studio).

I know what you mean about Aox being a bit light in new material, but since MotM is one of my top 5 fave Dead songs, ever, I never think of the album that way. And the studio "China Cat" is so lovable, with the goofy vocals and insane drum intro, isn't it? It's strange how Workingman's was recorded so much more quickly and simply...and is much more beloved.

And if you dated Betty, you'd get those free organic raspberries too, as a plus... ;-)


This post was modified by Styrofoam Cueball on 2009-03-07 02:59:54

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Poster: whirlwind dreamer 65-95 Date: Mar 6, 2009 1:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Aoxomoxoa vs. Live/Dead (for the big gold)

yeah scb!!! the raspberry farm show smokes!!!~ http://www.archive.org/details/gd68-09-02.sbd.miller.22095.sbeok.shnf

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 6, 2009 6:24pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Aoxomoxoa vs. Live/Dead (for the big gold)

The studio Dark Star is interesting, because it comes from Nov '67, when they were just starting recordings for Anthem. Remember by that point, they had probably spent only a few days total in the studio to make demos & their first album.....so that single shows the first time when they were able to spend days & days thinking of new things to put in the music, to the point where much of it is inaudible!
(Among other things, Sgt Pepper came out that summer, which I think had a big effect on recording.)

Versus, the simple & uncluttered Workingman's.....there's a few reasons that happened the way it did. 1) just for a change - the Dead had gone the 'psychedelic mix-for-the-hallucinations' road before, and wanted to do something new. 2) to save money - they were tired of losing thousands of dollars with all that studio time like on the previous albums. 3) the songs called for it - once they decided to do folk/country tunes, the material didn't need much in the way of overdubs or effects.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 6, 2009 1:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Aoxomoxoa vs. Live/Dead

Good points, per usual LiA.

I suppose what I was going on was vague notions of having read about the boys being disappointed that Anthem didn't capture the spirit of the Live show, which, I suppose, they did feel finally happened with LDead? Not sure I have it right.

But, I do know you are right about Aox, and that Jerry esp was troubled with the mix, etc. Suppose that at some level, we love them cause they were perfectionists, which seems so counter to the 67 summer of love spirit, etc.

IE, spending huge amts of $$ in the studio to play, hoping to get things "right" but being critical enough to feel you didn't is sort of the essence of these guys, even though it's a jumble of contradictions...

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Poster: dilcurrie Date: Mar 6, 2009 1:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Aoxomoxoa vs. Live/Dead

i believe that if the band had known what it would become live then they wouldn't have bothered half as much with the studio, during any period of their career. We all know the songs that were never released as records or released as live only eg Jack Straw.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 6, 2009 6:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Aoxomoxoa vs. Live/Dead

"If the band had known what it would become live...."
But how could they know? Live/Dead was probably seen as being an extravagant step at the time....I don't think by '69 there were a whole lot of live rock albums (let alone double-albums) that showed a whole different band than the studio records. Cream's Wheels of Fire comes to mind, there are probably others, but it was a new field - and the idea of releasing songs only on live albums would be quite novel!
And actually, through the Dead's career, although they were rarely too happy in the studio, they were rarely generous in releasing live albums either. In fact, some of their live releases were thoughtless travesties....more on that later.

As for their rehearsals - yes, they rehearsed intensely, hours a day, in '66-68 - the kind of jam-songs they wanted to do demanded it. The Dec '68 studio session shows in part how much work they put into the Eleven.... (Which is strange if the date is right, since they'd been playing that live for almost a year!) I don't think their shows were ever really 'free-form' in the jazz sense, but they did practice enough to be able to jam freely.
As Jerry said, "You can't play the way the Grateful Dead plays without working at it. It's not something that just happened to us. It didn't happen overnight, either. There was a long, slow process that brought that into being."

As for '69 and later, it's harder to say how much they rehearsed. There is that one great home tape (labeled 12-31-69 in the Archive) with the instrumental Feelin' Groovy & Uncle John, but we don't have many more practice-tapes from the early '70s....there are the early rehearsal tapes with Keith in 1971, which aren't very revealing though, since Keith didn't need much practice!
As for the later '70s - I'll recycle a statement I made in an old thread, responding to someone who thought the Dead didn't rehearse:
"What's with the comment about the Dead's 'well-known aversion to rehearsals'? Maybe that was the case in their burnt-out later days when they were writing hardly any new songs and avoiding the studio, but it's not true of their first decade. Even leaving aside the constant rehearsals of the '60s, this band had spent the whole first half of '75 rehearsing Blues for Allah, another big chunk of time in '77 for Terrapin, plus countless hours practicing for the '76 shows. The Dead could not have sounded like they did without being rehearsal-crazy. But again, those habits probably changed after '77."

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Poster: dilcurrie Date: Mar 7, 2009 2:33am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Aoxomoxoa vs. Live/Dead

Hope this helps, not you personally, but anyone following the thread who's interested:

http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=grateful%20dead%20studio

some good stuff here

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 6, 2009 1:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Aoxomoxoa vs. Live/Dead

Actually, I disagree. I would pick Workingmans and AmBeauty far and away ahead of all others. Just MHO.

And, the more I have learned of 68, the more I have learned of how hard the practiced, the more I have come to appreciate that they did not really play free form during concerts...the Eleven was perfected in the studio, and they worked really hard at it...without the studio, I don't know what we'd have live...

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Poster: dilcurrie Date: Mar 6, 2009 1:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Aoxomoxoa vs. Live/Dead

that is very true, i agree that the practice in the studio payed of live, and that the two albums you mention are beyond compare.

My point is that if they had known how big and good they would become then they wouldnt have brought into the whole top 20 scene, not that they ever really bothered the top 20.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 6, 2009 2:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Aoxomoxoa vs. Live/Dead

Ah--got you; esp noted for the sessions in the fall of 65, or with some of the numbers off the first album, though I love em anyway.